RJD leaves allies sore over 'unilateral' announcement of candidates for council polls

The tumult follows announcement by the RJD, on the previous day, that it was contesting only three out of the seven seats that are set to fall vacant following the retirement of members.

Published: 31st May 2022 10:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st May 2022 10:57 PM   |  A+A-

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav (Photo | PTI)

By PTI

PATNA: The Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal's "unilateral" announcement of candidates for the upcoming elections to the legislative council in Bihar, "without any consultation" with allies, drew strong protests on Tuesday from coalition partners.

The CPI(ML), an ally of the RJD with 12 MLAs in the Assembly, has shot off a letter to leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav reminding him of a past assurance that the Left party would be considered for representation in the Upper House.

The Congress, which is the RJD's oldest-but-currently-estranged ally, also sought to remind the domineering senior coalition partner that it did not have the requisite numbers in the Assembly to get MLCs elected "on its own".

The tumult follows announcement by the RJD, on the previous day, that it was contesting only three out of the seven seats that are set to fall vacant following the retirement of members.

Elections would be held on June 20.

The party has declared the names of a Muslim, a Dalit woman and a Brahmin as its candidates, underscoring that it cared for all social groups and not just Yadavs, as is alleged by detractors.

"We have sent a letter to Tejashwi Yadav reminding him that after our party's good performance in assembly polls, he had agreed that CPI-ML deserved to have a member in the legislative council and promised to help us in this regard when the time came," the Left party's media in-charge Kumar Parvez told PTI.

He said that the Left party has, in its letter, expressed its anguish over the RJD keeping the CPI(ML) in the dark while deciding on its own candidates and requested that the party “do a rethink while there is still time”.

Filing of nomination papers for the seven seats begins on June 2 and comes to a close by June 9.

The RJD has 76 MLAs in the 243-member Assembly, while the Left Front, which includes CPI and CPI(M), has a total of 16.

The ruling NDA, comprising the BJP, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U) and ex-CM Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM, has a full majority and is expected to win at least four seats.

Meanwhile, the Congress which has 19 MLAs and had fought the 2020 assembly polls in alliance with the RJD-Left combine but broke up last year, sought to point out that it had walked out of the opposition alliance because of similar "arrogance" displayed by the former CM's party.

The Congress had broken its alliance with the RJD in protest against the latter fielding its candidates for by-elections to two seats in September-October last year.

The Congress wanted to contest one of these.

It was widely speculated that the RJD was upset with Congress over induction of former CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar, seen as a potential rival of Tejashwi Yadav.

"The RJD had gained nothing by its intransigence last year. It insisted on contesting two seats in the assembly and ended up losing both. Now it wants to contest three seats in legislative council. It cannot hope to win these unless it shows respect for the Congress and the Left parties and wins their support," CLP leader Ajeet Sharma told reporters.



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